The defense of class actions can span several years, and generally class action complaints allege damages dating back many years. That combination played a part in the record settlement of a pregnancy discrimination class action lawsuit, according to Amy Joyce of the Washington Post. By way of background, Nynex Corporation was formed in 1984 to provide telephone service to the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The company acquired Bell Atlantic in 1997 and adopted its name. Three years later, in 2000, Bell Atlantic acquired GTE and changed its name to Verizon Communications. Verizon’s predecessors, Nynex and Bell Atlantic, “were accused of violating federal law by denying women pension and other benefit accruals when they spent time on pregnancy or maternity leave,” Ms. Joyce reports. Verizon recently agreed to pay almost $49 million to more than 12,000 former and current female employees to settle the landmark case.
The Washington Post reports that the settlement was consummated in 2002, but that final figures were not available until the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) had “completed its projects of how much would be paid in future benefits.” The article by Amy Joyce, “Record $48.9 Million Set in Maternal Bias Suit Verizon Inherited,” may be found in the June 6, 2006, Washington Post.